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Idea from E.ON chief is undeliverable without investment in training - CEO

Idea from E.ON chief is undeliverable without investment in training - CEO

21 September 2017

Develop Training Ltd (DTL), a specialist in smart meter installation training, has welcomed a call from the head of E.ON to protect consumers at the end of their contracts by switching them to a fixed price deal instead of a more expensive variable tariff.

DTL hopes that other energy providers will follow suit but that, if they do, this will raise demand significantly for domestic smart meters.

In order to achieve this, DTL believes that there will need to be a significant investment in training more people to install smart meters.

Indeed, Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON - one of the big six energy suppliers - acknowledged the move would require customers to get a smart meter installed.

Increased investment in smart meter training

Chris Wood, CEO of DTL, which trains smart meter installers for, amongst others, Siemens, Morrison Data Services, said: "There is already an under-lying shortage of skilled people to install smart meters. We welcome Michael Lewis's initiative to help consumers and hope more of the big six will follow suit, but ultimately feel it's a long way from becoming reality unless much-needed investment in smart meter training across the industry is increased."

Mr Wood said this skills shortage was related to wider issues in the utility sector, including an ageing workforce and a reluctance of young people to seek careers in those industries.

Moreover, the situation with smart metering has been exacerbated by the introduction of updated Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETs2), which has led to a need for further training and the replacement of some meters that had already been installed.

Whitepaper on UK smart meter rollout

A DTL report into the issue concludes fast, effective and accredited training programmes and initiatives are vital if suppliers are to boost installer numbers to meet their obligations and avoid penalties. DTL's whitepaper, 'Smart Meters: training to meet the challenge of the UK rollout', explores the issues relating to the UK smart meter rollout and the role training must play in helping to address them. 

The report highlights that the shortage of suitably trained engineers is by far the biggest challenge facing an industry under pressure to meet the smart meter target. Research has shown that almost one in five domestic customers who arranged for a smart meter to be installed in their home experienced long delays because there were too few engineers available to carry out the work.

Mr Wood said: "Smart meters are an integral part of the UK's plans to create a greener, safer and more reliable energy network, but the rollout programme is placing severe demands on the energy firms and their supply chain."

The smart meter report is the latest in a series of whitepapers DTL has published on a variety of topics, including electrical safety at work, confined spaces and legionella.

To download a free copy of the whitepaper, please click the button below and follow the simple instructions: 

Download DTL's in-depth whitepaper on Smart Metering in the UK